I finally got to my appointment and got some more definite information that is helpful--even if it isn't really all that great of news. Basically, the Neuro said that my herniations were in fact caused by my scoliosis, which I had been told was minimal and would never really cause me pain and wasn't worth monitoring really.
Anyhow, apparently my scoliosis is continuing to progress regardless of the fact that I am no longer growing. In addition, its curvature is severe enough already that it caused the herniation at the place of the highest degree of curvature. The upper curve 'over corrects' its self down lower like an S shape, causing some of the lower discs to then herniate as well.
Soo, he said he is really hesitant about surgery and would never do it himself. He said that's because discectomy or similar procedures would be risky with the scoliosis, and it would be difficult to get to the worst herniation without getting at the bone. So he can't recommended surgery, however, he wants me to see a specialist in Pittsburgh who specifically preforms neuro/orthopedic surgery on adolescents and young adults with scoliosis. He also said that regardless of the other herniations, the scoliosis itself is significant enough to warrant continuous monitoring by a professional like that.
So it sounds like this guy was being really straight forward with me and didn't try and coax me into anything undue. At least he admitted he wasn't qualified in that department to make an informed decision on it. So I have to meet with this specialist and see if he would even consider any surgical methods on it, and also to have him examine and monitor the progression of the curvature.
The other issue, however, with the surgery is that he does not believe that all of my pain is from one source. He says the L1-2 shouldn't cause the outter thigh/hip pain, and so he is wary that it could be one of the lower herniations. Since it is sort of a hard process figuring out what exact 'injury' is causing what, it is also hard to recommend a surgery because there is no sure way it is going to 'fix' anything. Could be some of the severe pain is from a lower disc, basically.
He said however if I were able to get some sort of procedure done to the worst disc, I would probably see improvement. However, it obviously isnt for sure. So, it just sounds really risky. I'm 22, so they're thankfully really hesitant to jump into surgery. My family doctor is adamantly opposed to me having any spinal surgery, so I am going to go back and talk with him too and see what his opinion is. Obviously he isn't a specialist, but its won't hurt to hear him out.
The neuro also said he'd sign off for sure on temporary disability benefits...but the thing is that I doubt I qualify for that. The reason being that the benefit in my state cover part of your lost income, but you have to have made so much money to begin with. I was a waiter making just over minimum wage, and I don't meet the minimum requirements.
SO, I still have no job or income and will have to wait for this other doctor to MAYBE say I can get surgery and that it MIGHT help me--and then I have to wait to actually have it done and see if I actually do feel any better. Meanwhile, if I don't get any of those results I will have just went over a year without any income at all.
So I am thinking of going ahead and applying for SSI. I haven't worked long enough for SSDI, so its my only real option. I'm going to talk with my doctors about it and maybe call the neuro's office again if I need to make sure he would be ok with backing me on that front. Because what he said was that I could probably get better if I had surgery. Could, probably, and if are not quite the words you're looking to hear when it comes to spinal surgery. lol!
Hopefully the specialist in Pittsburgh can tell me more, but I am not going to wait until then to talk to the SS agent about SSI because it could be over a month before I even see the other doctor...maybe longer.
--Patrick, aka Misterkatamari
I'm active on several boards. Main issues are: Chronic Pain due to Scoliosis & 2 Herniated Discs, possible DDD and/or arthritic facet joints. Also active in the Depression/Anxiety boards. Meds include: Prozac 40mg, Xanax .5 mg, Tramadol 50mg
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” - Joseph Campbell